Families come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many reasons they might need a counselor or social worker to help them adjust through a tough patch. Religion, or lack of it, can be a point of contention within a family. We love who we love. Social worker Suzy Porter has some advice, and plans on blogging more about Interfaith family issues.
In order to make a difference in Contra Costa County, mental health and social service providers should understand the spiritual and religious lives of the families they work with. The beliefs of the United States, and in Contra Costa, have changed over the past decade. Some families have become more freethinking, or are having their traditional beliefs challenged by freethinking children. The arrival of new Americans immigrants from around the world bring diverse faiths and traditions. The changing faiths and landscape of Norther California necessitate adaptation by social workers.
Different faiths and cultures have varied ways of celebrating, or avoiding, certain holidays. To help families negotiate Eid, Christmas, Halloween, and even Thanksgiving, social worker Suzanne Porter has experience.
Religious beliefs and morals of so many Californians influence their stance of so many urgent social issues – child welfare and youth development, mental health and depression, substance abuse and recovery, sexuality and LGBT relationships, immigration and assimilation, aging and end-of-life issues, and many others. In order to work effectively on these issues, all social workers need to understand the diversity of the religious beliefs and practices of the clients and communities they serve.
A diverse clientele brings valuable insights into the community and where it is heading. A specific faith-based client can benefit a social worker a great deal by presenting you with a broader look at our world. Interfaith issues can be sorted. Be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu, or even Pagan, we are all at heart people. In many ways, engagement with religious diversity can transform a community.